The best shower filter reduces the amount of harmful contaminants in your water which will benefit your skin, hair and nails as well as your overall health – time to say goodbye to itchiness, dryness and irritation.
Plus it neutralizes unpleasant odors allowing you to enjoy your daily showers to the limit.
On top of that, most shower filters are inexpensive and install in minutes without the need to make any permanent changes to your plumbing. What better solution is there to improve how you look and feel?
How to find a good or the best shower water filter? You are about to find out!
On This Page You Will…
|Model||Our Rating||Price||Type||Filt. Capacity||Annual Cost|
AquaBliss SF100 - Best Shower Filter for Hair Loss
AquaBliss SF220 - Best Universal Shower Filter
Culligan WSH-C125 - Best Shower Head Filter for Hard Water (Softener)
Luxsego - Best Ionic Shower Head
Best Vitamin C Shower Filter for Chlorine
|$$$||Vitamin C||1-2 Months||~$45.00|
No Green Light For: Miniwell L720-X
Shower filters are small and simple devices used to treat shower water on demand. This is why we cannot compare them to whole house filtration or softening systems that are much larger and complex and therefore way more effective, but also much more expensive.
Simply put, don’t set your expectations too high.
That being said, when buying a water filter for your shower here’s what you need to consider:
Depending on what you want to achieve and which contaminants are present in your water, a certain type of filtering media will be more effective than others. For instance:
If you are on a chlorinated city water supply and you want to get rid of the unpleasant disinfectant, using a regular carbon a.k.a. charcoal filter seems like the way to go. After all, activated carbon adsorbs all kinds of chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides, and of course chlorine. Another benefit is that carbon filtration is budget-friendly.
However, charcoal is a cold water filter. It exceeds at low temperatures; with hot shower water not so much. Some online sources even claim that in very hot water activated carbon will release some of the impurities it previously trapped.
Probably the better solution for chlorine reduction are multi-stage (carbon) filters – those that combine regular activated carbon with KDF and other media layers. Another benefit is that each layer will additionally remove one or more specific type of contaminant.
KDF (copper-zinc blend) is effective against heavy metal contamination – think lead and mercury. In terms of chlorine reduction it may also not perform at its optimum in very hot water, but calcium sulfite does. The latter is great for dechlorinating.
Then we have shower filters based on vitamin C. These are very effective at removing chlorine PLUS chloramine from cold, warm and hot water.
Nowadays, chloramine (a compound of chlorine and ammonia) is commonly being used as a chlorine substitute for tap water disinfection. The issue is that most regular filters won’t help to reduce chloramine levels – not so with vitamin C! It dissolves into the water and neutralizes up to 99.9% of all present chlorine and chloramine (as recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture and Forest Service – source).
You can learn more about how to remove chloramine from (shower) water here: best-osmosis-systems.com/how-to-remove-chloramine/
You are struggling with hard water? There are shower filters for this that will remove at least some calcium and magnesium from your water.
Manufacturers can make promises about contaminant reduction rates all day long, but only NSF/ANSI certifications provide proof.
A Standard 177 certification means a shower filter has met NSF requirements for chlorine reduction, material safety, and structural integrity.
Unfortunately, the standard only indicates that a tested product is capable of eliminating a minimum of 50% free chlorine (not to be confused with total combined chlorine) in water.
By the way, if you want to test your filter’s chlorine-reduction effectiveness yourself, ensure that you are using the correct testing method. Because measuring free chlorine vs. total combined chlorine does make a difference.
Handheld or wall mounted, inline or showerhead – all shower filters listed on this page fit industry standard ½” connections.
The obvious advantage of inline shower purifiers is that you can keep your existing shower head if you want.
Most filters for showers work at about 2.5 gpm. Showerhead filters with an EPA WaterSense certification have a maximum flow rate of 2.0 gallons per minute. This will save water and reduce your water bill, but you might notice a slight drop in pressure.
Most companies say that their shower filters last for around 10,000 gallons or 6 months – whichever comes first. However, this only applies under ideal conditions meaning that you must have the best water on the planet.
If you live in an area with hard water you will need to replace your filter far more frequently, maybe every two to three months.
Also, the actual longevity depends on how often and how long you shower.
So you want to double-check that replacement cartridges are widely available. Replacing a filter on a regular basis is vital to ensure that it keeps working properly.
Above that, you should keep in mind that replacement filters come at additional cost. This can become a significant outlay over the course of let’s say 5 to 10 years.
Bottom line: Check the cost and lifespan of replacements before you commit to a certain model.
Order of Reviews
We thought it would be a good idea to start this review series with the AquaBliss SF100 and SF220 shower filters since they are so well received and among the most popular on Amazon.
Both combine multiple filtration stages – calcium sulfite, KDF-55 and activated carbon among others – to neutralize odors and tackle common water impurities like chlorine, lead, mercury, nickel, bacteria and pesticides (as per manufacturer).
Furthermore, the growth of algae, fungi and mold is inhibited. In addition, a micro-porous polypropylene cotton layer helps to remove sediment and dust.
Please note: Chloramine content won’t be affected.
The difference between the two is that the AquaBliss SF100 not only reduces a wide range of contaminants, it also infuses your water with revitalizing minerals and vitamin C that are supposed to rejuvenate dry, itchy skin as well as brittle hair and nails.
Total filter stages: 12. Filtration capacity: 10,000 or up to 6 months. 10,000 gallons is pretty standard for a shower filter and keeps maintenance requires down to a minimum.
The SF220 on the other hand is a “heavy duty shower filter” that aims at removing as many contaminants from your shower water as possible without adding anything back into it.
Total filtering stages: 7. Filtration capacity: 10,000 to 12,000 gallons or 6 – 8 months.
By the way, we are talking about inline filters that you can use with the shower head of your choice thanks to the standard ½” connections. Compatible shower types include fixed, rain and handheld.
Installation is easy and can be done within a couple of minutes – no tools needed (sealing tape provided). And if you require any help, the AquaBliss customer service is knowledgeable and quickly to respond.
What we miss are NSF certifications that back the manufacturer’s claims regarding contaminant removal capabilities. It would also be helpful to know exact reduction rates.
In fact, some customers complained about a lack of improvement in water quality with the AquaBliss SF100/220 installed (pH, chlorine and heavy metal tests showed no detectable differences).
What’s more, although we have a chrome finish, the plastic casing is prone to leaking.
And lastly, both units will lower the height of your shower head which can be a pain depending on your current setup. This is a problem that many shower filters cause, though.
The majority of users love the AquaBliss SF100 and SF220. They report about skin and hair that feels noticeably softer and looks healthier.
Also, the price seems fair. Just keep in mind that these are all-rounders. Don’t expect the most sophisticated purification process. 4 stars from us!
Culligan which is headquartered in Rosemont, Illinois is a global player and well-known company in the water treatment products industry.
The Culligan WSH-C125 filtered shower head can be used to remove free available chlorine from tap water (tested according to NSF/ANSI Standard 177; up to 99% removal but at least 50%) that would otherwise damage your hair follicles and cause dry and itchy skin.
At the same time, the filter reduces sulfur odor and mineral scale allowing you to enjoy a refreshing shower experience for a maximum of 10,000 gallons or 6 months – whichever comes first.
Another benefit are the filter’s bacteriostatic properties that limit passage and growth of bacteria which increases the overall cleanliness of your shower water.
Flow rate? 2 gallons per minute which is pretty standard so it’s unlikely that you will notice a significant pressure drop.
What’s more, the filter installs in minutes on any standard ½” threaded shower arm with no tools required.
In addition to that, it’s backed by a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty. The price for replacement cartridges is reasonable.
As an alternative to the WSH-C125 head you can also opt for Culligan’s HSH-C135 hand-held shower filter. Both feature a sleek chrome finish and offer 5 spray settings to “suit your mood“.
To be honest, the Culligan WSH-C125 is nowhere near perfect. Yes, it does improve water quality but not too much.
And what’s more important, for most users the filter lasts no more than 2 to 3 months, so not even close to the 10,000 gallons as advertised. This means that more frequent cartridge replacements are necessary adding to the cost.
No more ashy elbows, softer hair and an overall improvement of the condition of your skin – sounds good to us. 4 stars!
Want a full review? Click here.
Being the most popular ionic shower head on Amazon at the time of writing this guide, the Luxsego is a hand-held device with 2 functions:
Whether or not these claims are true remains to be proven. All we can say right now is that the majority of customers are more than happy with their purchase.
How does the shower filter work? It stores bioactive stones in its transparent head. The infrared and anion mineral beads do all the magic. By the way, the manufacturer recommends to change the beads every 6 to 8 weeks. They are available on Amazon.
Another cool thing is that you can not only choose between 3 different spray patterns (rainfall, jetting, massage), the metal penal also increases water pressure a.k.a. speed by as much as 200%. Flow rate: 2.5 gpm.
Plus the updated hose is more flexible, corrosion resistant, high-pressure resistant and comes with a 360° rotary joint making it tangle-free for ease of use.
Last but not least, the Luxsego shower filter is easy to set up, fits any ½” standard-sized hose, is detachable for easy cleaning and comes with a replacement hose and holder – how convenient!
For some users the casing on the plastic head cracked after a couple weeks/months of use which caused leaking. In addition, it’s a bit hard to bend the head. And the beads may cause clogging. So overall, the whole setup could do with a quality improvement.
What’s more, the nozzles in the shower head are tiny. The water that comes out is more like a mist than a stream which feels very soft and refreshing but we assume not everyone will like. Above that, it’ll soak your bathroom if you don’t pay attention.
And, as so often the case, we miss NSF certifications.
Ionic shower heads are somewhat experimental. But even if you don’t see an improvement in the condition of your water, hair and skin, the Luxsego ionic shower head will make you feel relaxed. That alone is worth 4 stars from us.
A viable alternative to the Luxsego is the Sakaika SH-B388 filtered shower head. Apart from filtering some common impurities – think chlorine (up to 90%) and lead – and charging your water with antioxidant ions, it dramatically increases water pressure thanks to its micro nozzles.
Another benefit is that the calcium sulfite ceramic balls are antibacterial, inhibiting the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria.
The promised results: Rejuvenated hair, skin and nails.
Cartridges last between 6 and 8 months or about 10,000 gallons.
Fits any ½” standard-sized connections. Easy installation, no tools required.
The Sonaki SUF-100V outperforms any other shower filter when it comes to chlorine removal. As water passes through it, vitamin C dissolves and neutralizes 99.9% of all chlorine and/or chloramine (test data provided).
FYI: Only shower filters based on Vitamin C are that effective.
On a side note, the Sonaki uses natural pharmaceutical-grade vitamin C recovered from oranges so no need to worry about quality issues here.
Also, the unit can be upgraded with an additional 5-stage filter (Puremax) that removes a range of contaminants including particles, turbidity, rust, lead, phenols, chromium-6 and THMs.
Each vitamin cartridge has a lifetime of approx. 3 to 6 months or up to 10,000 liters (2640 gallons), says Sonaki.
However, this is an ideal value and rather unrealistic. Most users have to insert a new cartridge about every month or so (more on this in a bit).
The good news is that the cartridges are translucent so that you can tell when they are empty.
A wrench for opening the filter is included and the whole replacement process is fairly easy.
Lastly, we like the durable brass material. The whole setup attaches easily before your shower head and will affect its height and positioning only slightly for comfortable standing.
By far the biggest drawback is the price of the Vitamin C cartridges which go fairly quickly. They usually cost a little less than $8 a piece – doesn’t sound like much? What you need to consider is that you are probably looking at monthly or bi-monthly replacements, which means that costs will start to add up quickly.
The good news is that there is a simple way to reuse the cartridges. You just need to know how to open them.
Refilling Sonaki Cartridges
The top is glued on so you need to apply some force to pop it open. Tightly grab the filter and press upwards on the top part just above the black O-ring. Rotate the cartridge while doing so. The glue will give in eventually. If not, soak the cartridge in very hot water and try again.
Once the top has come off, tap it upside down to get the seal and cap out. Make sure to not lose any parts. Wash everything and let dry.
The refilling itself is child’s play. All you need is some food-grade vitamin C powder. Refill each cartridge below the line where the cap sits. The more you get inside, the longer the cartridge will last obviously. Put the cloth, O-ring and cap back on. That’s it!
Another issue is that the filter may not drain properly after you’ve turned off your shower. As a result, the remaining water will dilute the vitamin C in the cartridge which will then flush out the next time you turn on the shower.
You can work around this design flaw by turning the filter upside down so that the chamber points downward and all the water will drain out. If that doesn’t help, try to loosen the nut above the filter where it attaches to the outlet pipe to allow a possible vacuum to break – not the most elegant solution, but it works.
That being said, Vitamin C quickly degrades in water so you have to make sure that the powder doesn’t stay wet at all cost.
There is no doubt that this chlorine filter really works. Most users love it and if you do your own refills, it’s inexpensive to maintain over the long run. 4.5 stars!
Sprite Industries, Inc. offers a whole range of shower purifiers from hand-held and filtered shower heads to universal inline filters.
The latter can be placed between any existing shower head and shower arm for easy customization (fit industry standard ½” NPT threading), allowing you to keep your existing setup.
Inside every Sprite filter is Chlorgon, a patented blend of copper, zinc and calcium sulfide. “While housing styles can come and go, these cartridges will stay the same”, says the manufacturer.
In other words: The filter version you choose will not influence water quality.
The only difference is that the hand-held cartridges (model HHC) have a filter life of up to 3 months, whereas Slim-Line cartridges (model SLC) last for 6 and High Output cartridges (model HOC) for as long as 12 months.
FYI: Over time the filter material will change from golden to black. This is a helpful indicator that it’s time to replace the cartridge.
What does Chlorgon do? It converts free chlorine (NSF Standard 177 certified) and some combined chlorines to harmless chloride salt. The salt does not evaporate easily even in very hot water and is too large to be absorbed by your skin.
Other impurities that will be removed from your shower water include dirt, sediment, odors, hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) and iron oxides.
Another benefit is that Chlorgon itself works well in cold AND hot temperatures.
Did we mention that the filter cartridges are recyclable?
Example 1: The Slim-Line 2
Example 2: The High-Output 2 with Massaging Head
What we don’t like is that opening the filter housing can be a real pain. It is supposed to simply unscrew but after months of use it is likely to be sealed tight.
One solution to this is to use two strap wrenches – be careful, the housing has a tendency to break. Another option is to pour white vinegar on the joint and let it sit for a while.
In addition, filters might not reach their specified capacity so more frequent replacements are required.
Two minor drawbacks are that you might see a slight drop in pressure and small leaks.
All in all, if you struggle with skin and/or respiratory problems due to free chlorine, Sprite shower filters can make a huge difference. They work well for months. Acceptable performance, great price!
The Aquasana AQ-4100 comes in 4 different versions:
No matter which option you choose, you always get the same filter cartridge that is rated at 10,000 gallons or 6 months, whichever comes first. The provided water flow rate is 2.5 gpm which is the standard.
As for the filtration, first KDF-55 media removes some chlorine and balances water pH.
The subsequent activated charcoal layer helps to further reduce chlorine and other synthetic chemicals including VOCs – think herbicides and pesticides.
According to Aquasana, the shower filter can also lower lead, mercury, iron, hydrogen sulfide and chloramine content. However, it was certified against NSF Standard 177 for chlorine reduction only (>87% after 10,000 gallons).
Other benefits are:
Here is what we don’t like:
This Aquasana filter focuses on getting the chlorine out of your shower water. For most users it makes a noticeable difference in their water quality – water that is free from chlorine odor and that doesn’t cause dry hair and itchy skin.
Our verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars!
For a more detailed review, click here.
The Berkey shower filter which can either be used with your own or Berkey’s optional massage head reduces up to 95% chlorine.
Above that, it takes care of some of the hydrogen sulfide, lead, scale and rust that might be lurking in your water. The KDF-55 filtering media also helps to control mold and fungi and inhibit bacteria from growing inside your shower head.
Besides, the unit is effective for both hot and cold water, says Berkey.
One cartridge lasts between 20,000 and 25,000 gallons or up to 1 year.
Installation? Don’t worry, it’s a piece of cake. Plus you get a 6-month manufacturer warranty.
Not all users saw a difference in the quality of their water before and after installing the Berkey shower filter. According to the company, high chloramine content can compromise chlorine reduction which might explain the ineffectiveness in some cases.
We also read reports from users that experienced a considerable drop in water pressure and flow after some time.
Although Berkey provides a backflushing feature that allows the removal of accumulated debris, the filters don’t always reach their claimed capacity. More frequent replacements add to the costs.
Online feedback for Berkey’s shower water filter is A+. Most customers would recommend the unit to their friends and family, and so do we! Our rating: 4 stars.
FYI: It’s quite possible that Berkey has repurposed this product. It seems to be a Sprite model originally. If this really is the case you would be better off purchasing the original since it is much more affordable.
For a more detailed review, click here.
What we have here is a universal shower filter that fits all industry standard connections (0.5″) and that comes with 15 different purification stages – believe it or not:
All in all, the goal is to remove as many unpleasant odors and impurities from your shower water as possible to counter skin dryness, dandruff, and improve the overall health of your skin, hair and nails.
According to the company, the AquaHomeGroup filter also prevents the growth of algae and mold inside your shower head.
One cartridge lasts for up to 6 months under ideal conditions. 2 cartridges are included in the package.
Some customers have noticed a slight drop in water pressure. Others struggled with leaks. Apart from that, nothing out of the ordinary.
Customer support seems to be excellent while the instructions could do with an upgrade.
Bottom line: If you want a better shower experience and healthier skin, definitely give the AquaHomeGroup filter a try. It works great for the majority of users!
Unlike advertised, the Jonathan shower filter is not the answer to your hard water problems.
Yes, the 2-stage unit reduces chlorine (up to 91%), hydrogen sulfide, lead and harmful chemicals such as VOCs, which in turn will soften your hair and skin. But it won’t reduce actual water hardness.
Stage 1 of the filtration makes use of KDF media in an oxidation process.
Stage 2 is common granular activated charcoal mixed with ion exchange resin. As the system removes heavy metals, it replaces them with healthy potassium ions to balance water pH.
How long does one cartridge last? About 6 months in a 2-person household.
Did we mention that the Jonathan Product is built in the U.S.?
On the one hand, we have minor issues with leaks here and there.
On the other hand, some customers received off-brand products (knock offs) which really is a no go.
And lastly, filter unit and replacement cartridges seem a bit overpriced.
With the Jonathan Product you will immediately be able to tell the difference the first time you walk into your shower. The vast majority of users is very happy with their purchase and highly recommend it to anyone & everyone – especially those people who are struggling with brittle hair and dry skin.
Filling the tub from your shower head may be possible in your bathroom, but it’s probably not the most convenient solution out there. Instead, why not try a bathtub water filter?
Finding the best bathtub water filter hasn’t been easy, and we don’t feel like we’ve found the perfect option to be honest.
Anyway, the CuZn Bath Ball can be strapped onto your bathtub faucet and is supposed to soften your bath water for smooth and silky skin & hair.
CuZn says that the U.S. made filter reduces dirt, sediment, odors, chlorine and lead for up to 12 months of use, although 12 months seems a bit far-fetched.
Is the filter refillable? Yes, it is. The so called PowerDisk replacement filters are available on Amazon.
You can choose between the BB-104 which eliminates free and combined chlorines, whereas the BB-104-85 was designed for chloramine reduction. Both work with non-carbon based media and are 100% eco-friendly (recyclable).
Lifetime warranty on the housing? Check!
As usual, the biggest issue that we have is that the manufacturer does not provide a performance data sheet with specific contaminant reduction rates, so we cannot tell how effective this filter really is.
All we know is that for some users it seems to work. Others say it doesn’t (chlorine level remained the same).
Also, the CuZn Bath Ball is just not very practical since it’s hard to keep directly under the faucet.
The CuZn Bath Ball is for people who want a quick, easy and inexpensive solution to fill their bathtub with kinda filtered water. Most reviews are positive with customers seeing an improvement in the health of their hair and skin. 3 stars!
As an alternative check out the Rainshow’r Crystal Bath Ball. It promises to dechlorinate your bath within 5 to 8 minutes after you’ve filled the tub. In order to convert 90% or more total chlorine into harmless chloride simply swirl the ball in the water.
By the way, the ball is filled with KDF filament and crystalline quartz, requires no plumbing attachment and lasts for over 200 baths.
The bad news: Many customers have reported to get mediocre results at best.
More on Shower Filters
In section 1, we reviewed the top rated shower filters on the market. Next, we are going to tackle some of the most common questions our readers ask about them.
First of all, if you already own a proper whole-house water treatment system then there’s probably no reason for you to use an additional shower filter.
If that is not the case, a shower filter can be a convenient and cost-efficient way to protect your body from potentially harmful contaminants that might be present in your water supply:
Do you purify your drinking water before consumption? If so, it’s not a huge leap to consider a shower filter to eliminate as much chlorine, chloramine or any other disinfectant and its byproducts as possible.
What you have to know is that these chemicals don’t have to be ingested to cause health issues such as asthma.
And this is not only about your lungs and the fact that you can breathe easier in chlorine-free air. Your skin absorbs all kinds of things while you are in the shower. For example, it is estimated that on average more than half of our daily chlorine exposure comes from chlorinated shower water.
On top of that, chlorine damages your hair and skin. It causes dryness due to the fact that it removes oils that your body naturally produces. So take the chlorine out of your shower water and make your skin and hair look great again!
Less to no chlorine will also help with eye irritation and skin conditions like eczema. Not to mention that chlorine-free water smells better. In fact, it doesn’t smell at all.
For more info, make sure to check out the BOS guide on chlorine removal.
Back in 2009, a team of scientists conducted a study analyzing showerhead biofilms concluding that “showerheads may present a significant potential exposure to aerosolized microbes (…)“.
In other words, you can try to keep your shower as clean as possible. But if germs form in the shower head which you can’t clean they might rain down on you whenever you are showering.
Unfiltered shower water can also contain impurities like heavy metals and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Ideally, you want to have them removed to keep them off your body.
Calcium and other hardness minerals make skin dry and hair brittle. A “softening” shower purifier CAN remove some of these elements to relieve issues like dandruff.
Softened water also reduces the amount of soap, shampoo and conditioner that you need due to better lathering which in turn saves you money.
Installing a shower filter really is a piece of cake. The same goes for replacing the filter cartridge every once in a while.
Just check out the following video that will walk you through the process:
(Please keep in mind that exact steps may vary from one model to the other.)
If you have any questions about shower filters or any other type of water purifier really, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
And don’t forget to come back to this page from time to time as we are going to add new shower filter reviews occasionally.